European Practitioner Interviewed by U.S. Television News (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) CBS2 - Palm Springs, California - On May 27, 2005, a Falun Gong practitioner was invited to CBS2's morning news to talk about the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). A two-minute segment was scheduled for the interview, but the producers changed their minds and decided to also invite the practitioner to join the second morning news hour in order to talk about the practice of Falun Gong as well. The presenter of the news program was called Tom Tucker, and the practitioner was Pia-Maria Sandas from Europe.
Tom Tucker: Falun Gong is a practice that is done by millions of people around the world, particularly in China, but unfortunately many there are being persecuted for practicing that faith, that belief system. And joining us now to talk a little bit more about this is a Falun Gong practitioner, Pia-Maria Sandas, who is joining us to shed light on the subject this morning. Pia-Maria, thanks for joining us. It is good to see you today.
Pia-Maria: Hi Tom, thank you for inviting me.
TT: You have been involved with Falun Gong for a number of years. You have friends in China who have been persecuted for the practice of this life style. Talk about what you know.
PM: My close friend's husband was tortured to death in China for practicing Falun Gong. Falun Gong is simply an ancient form of cultivation practice, very similar to Yoga or Tai Chi, and it teaches people how to have a healthier lifestyle, how to be a better person by following Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, but the practice has, as you mentioned, been persecuted in China since 1999 by the Chinese Communist regime. Between 1992 and 1999 Falun Gong was supported by the Chinese Government, but...
TT: It was supported?
PM: Yes, they even promoted it, and many officials -- government officials -- also practiced it. But it was at the end of 1998 when Jiang Zemin, the former dictator, decided to do a government survey of civil groups, and when he found out that over 70 million people practiced Falun Gong in China he just turned to tables on it, banned it, started defaming the practice, and it has been severely persecuted since that.
TT: Let's go and take a look at some pictures that we have. The first one here, I believe, this is a friend of yours and her child.
PM: This is Jane Dai. Her husband was tortured to death in Communist China five years ago simply for practicing Falun Gong.
TT: Let's take a look at the next one. Is this her as well?
PM: Yes it is. Another very sad and well-known case is that of a mother who was tortured to death together with her 8 month old baby boy because the mother practiced Falun Gong. And as of today we have been able to verify over 2,200 deaths due to torture but estimates are well over 10,000, and about 100,000 practitioners have been put into labor camps. And the torture methods they use are terribly brutal. Amnesty International has also documented many of these cases. It is so sad and unbelievable that something like this can be happening in 2005.
TT: It certainly is! You have a book here and as you are going to be staying with us we are going to be talking some more a little bit later on this morning. Unfortunately, we are out of time right now but we look forward to talking about it some more. Pia-Maria, thanks for joining us this morning to talk about Falun Gong.
[The program cut to some other news before returning to the interview.]
TT: Falun Gong is a practice that is practiced all over the world by millions. It is an ancient spiritual practice, and joining us this morning to talk a little bit more about Falun Gong is practitioner Pia-Maria. Thanks for joining us today. It is good to see you again.
PM: Hi Tom, great to be here.
TT: Tell us about Falun Gong. What is it?
PM: Falun Gong is an ancient Chinese practice, rooted in Chinese history and tradition. It was introduced to the public in 1992 by Master Li Hongzhi, and today it is practiced in over 78 countries by about 100 million people. The practice itself consists of two parts: first, the exercise part which is very similar to Yoga or Tai Chi. There are four standing exercises and then one calm peaceful sitting meditation.
TT: Let's go and take a look at some of the pictures, we can have one coming up here. First, let's talk about what they are doing.
PM: That is the sitting meditation. All of the exercises are really easy to learn, they are fun, energizing, and they are great for health! The youngest person I know who practices is 5 years old and the oldest one 96, so it is for everyone!
TT: Terrific! And you are one of them as well. We have a picture of you here as well sitting on a beach meditating, where is this?
PM: That's in the Canary Islands. I have been practicing for six years and it is the most fantastic thing!
Then the second aspect of the practice, which is the more important one, is the "theoretical part" so to say, which is based on three words: Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, some of which you find in, for example, Daoism, Buddhism and Christianity as well. They are Universal Principles, and it consists in how to learn how to live according to these principles, and how to become a better person. "Mind over matter", so to say. Today Doctors know that about 70% of illnesses are psychosomatic, so when you achieve an inner peace and peace of mind it really affects the body in a very powerful way! And another thing that is great about Falun Gong is that it is free. All over the world it is free, so no matter rich or poor, young or old, everyone can practice it!
TT: And you don't need a membership to do it, right?
PM: No you don't.
TT: In the first hour we talked about the persecution in China against the Falun Gong practitioners. You have some friends and friends of friends who have died as a result of this persecution.
PM: Yes, one of my close friend's husband was tortured to death in Communist China five years ago simply for practicing Falun Gong. A Communist Dictatorship obviously does not maintain its power by any good principles and they rule by inducing fear and by manipulation, and Falun Gong teaches principles that are very opposite to that.
TT: Unfortunately we are out of time but we do have a website address you would like to give out for those who would like to learn more about the persecution, and the address is:
TT: And then we have a different one here on the screen which is
PM: Yes that is for the practice, and from there everyone can learn the practice and also download the book Zhuan Falun for free (shows the book to Tom).
TT: And let's give the other one more time that you gave.
PM: That is for information about the persecution, and falundafa.org is for learning the practice.
TT: Sounds terrific! Pia-Maria, thanks for joining us today shedding light on the subject. We appreciate it!
PM: Thank you Tom.
Category: Opinion & Perspective